Both Chamber of Commerce Chair Myrna Ballard and Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard say the VDT is inaccurate. The VDT took offense at Ballard’s assertion. Which do you believe? I believe I’d like to see the evidence, not just the VDT’s assertions. And this junior high school cat fight the VDT insists on is not helping fix the real problem with water and wastewater in Valdosta and Lowndes County: the widespread and longterm damage to our watersheds that turned a normal rain in 2009 into a 700 year flood, and caused another flooding of the Withlacoochee Wasterwater Treatment Plant this year. I’m all for investigative reporting, but I have not yet once seen the VDT investigate the real underlying issues of longtime clearcutting and building of roads subdivisions, and parking lots without adequate consideration of water flows.
The VDT front page today has yet another story attacking the City of Valdosta, Loan info from GEFA contradicts City: $11 million awaits disbursement, loan amounts don’t match. I can’t make much sense out of it, because while Jason Shaefer has dug up a lot of interesting information, he doesn’t include dates for much of the financial detail he attributes to GEFA. Let’s see the VDT publish the documents they are referring to. The city does publish its Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports. The VDT has a website, and could publish whatever records it got from GEFA, which after all were produced using our tax dollars, and are therefore public records. Or if the documents are somewhere on GEFA’s website, the VDT could publish links to the specific documents. The VDT did publish a timeline of correspondence with the City about loans, so it could just as easily publish the GEFA documents and its own page-by-page and chart-by-chart comparison so we could all see for ourselves.
The VDT prepended this blurb to its timeline:
It has come to the attention of the Times that the Chamber of Commerce has called a special meeting on Tuesday to address what COC Pres. Myrna Ballard terms as “damage to our community’s reputation” due to the stories that have appeared in the newspaper. The invitation for the 9 a.m. meeting at the Chamber office was extended to only a select group of Chamber members, no media, and states that Mayor John Gayle and City Manager Larry Hanson will explain the city’s financial status. The Times takes very seriously the implication that the newspaper has written anything that is “inaccurate,” as stated by the Chamber. As such, the Times has chosen to show the public the information provided to the newspaper in response to questions posed to the City, with no editing, to allow citizens the opportunity to see for themselves if what the Times has written is an “inaccurate” portrayal of the city’s financial status.
What was that again?
The Times takes very seriously the implication that the newspaper has written anything that is “inaccurate,” as stated by the Chamber.
How about as stated by Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard? In a letter from him to me of 29 January 2013 Pritchard stated:Continue reading